Friday, February 26, 2010

Things to Do and a Missed Blessing

clothes shopping with Jordan
grocery shopping
retrieve clothes from attic
sort through clothes from attic
sort through clothes in boys closet and drawers
school room
kids' rooms
kitchen cabinets
dismantle and clean refrigerator
the never ending laundry pile
scrub master bath
hand mop dining room and kitchen
hand mop den and school room
clean master bedroom
put outgrown clothes in attic
make muffins and granola
soak and cook beans/put in freezer
have an afternoon fellowship with another homeschooling mom and children
work on lesson plans
pay bills
homeschool support group potluck dinner

Only two work days left in my OFF week and I have lots of work still to do.  But my kitchen looks a lot better!  Ok, the work I have done in the kitchen is in the cabinets and in the fridge, but it looks good when we open everything!!  Makes me feel good, too!!

I missed a sweet blessing one morning this week.  Between Caedmon wanting to nurse all night and Jeff's snoring  breathing deeply in his sleep, I don't sleep very well.  So, when Jeff gets up early most mornings I roll over to his side of the bed, stretch out, and try to sleep for an hour or so.  It is my best sleep time!!  Well, the other morning Jackson decided to get up early.  He got dressed in his camouflage overalls and cowboy boots and fixed his moma a cup of coffee with her favorite creamer.  He came into the bedroom and I vaguely remember telling him to go to the den, that I would be up shortly.  He came back in making lots of noise and I told him again....go to the den.  I did notice that he was bringing in the piano bench.  (to use as a table for my coffee) Anyway, I wasn't happy and I missed out!  I got  up a few minutes later and found out that he was bringing me a cup of coffee.  So I found him and told him about my "dream" that I had of some little boy  coming into my room that morning with a cup of coffee.  He told me I wasn't dreaming...that he had done that.  I apologized profusely and gave him a big snuggle/hug. Jackson had also drawn me a sweet picture of a flower.   He heated my cup of coffee for me and brought it to me with a sweet smile.  Even though he is only five years old he has discovered his mother's love language.  I hate that I missed out on his initial offering by being so tired.  (you must realize that all of this happened before 7 a.m.  ---I am not lazing in the bed all day!)  I am so very thankful for sweet (most of the time) children, who want to serve their moma and who have learned from their daddy how to speak moma's love language.    I am praying that I will be more attentive and not miss any more blessings from my children.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Is an Education?

This week we took off from our normal routines.  We needed to get some shopping done, transfer clothes from the attic to the bedrooms and the outgrown clothing from the bedrooms to the attic.  I also needed to clean out kitchen cabinets (new dishes deserve clean cabinets, right?) and some other areas.  Jordan has headed to Dallas where he will film Sally Clarkson's Wholehearted seminar on Friday and Saturday.  Part of my reasoning in not doing school this week was that he was going to be gone two "school" days, needed to go shopping on one day and would be working two other afternoons at The Homeschool Channel.   So, I just called a break.

Next week, Jeff has Dr. David Menton from Answers in Genesis coming down to film a program on anatomy and physiology for  young adults.  Filming will be all day for five days.  A big project for THC!  Jeff wanted Jordan to film, but I asked that he not because he would be missing so much school.  HELLO!!  What was I thinking?

Here is my 17 year old son who is earning good money, working with his father, learning how to shoot and edit programs for television, learning photography skills, photoediting and working on professional equipment.  He is traveling across the country, listening to many wonderful homeschool-home discipleship speakers. meeting many interesting people, and hopefully cementing his own philosophy of homeschooling for his future family.

And here I am concerned that he would miss too much school time at home if he works all next week filming the Dr. Menton/Answers in Genesis DVD.  Did I mention that Dr. Menton was a teacher at the medical school in St. Louis for over 30 years?  And he is going to be teaching anatomy and physiology on this DVD?  Ok, so I woke up and told Jeff that I had no problem with Jordan working all day, every day next week.   I'm sure he'll learn a lot more next week under Dr. Menton that he will at home.  I am also sure that I need to step back and trust his father to direct his education the way he sees fit.  Both his earthly father and his heavenly father.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Brotherly Blessings

We have four boys of varying ages in our family: a seventeen year old, a thirteen year old, a five year old and the baby at seventeen months. If my boys were in school in an institutionalized setting they would be in three different schools and the "least 'un" might even be in childcare. Instead, God gave us a vision for our family over 24 years ago....way before there were any boys in our lives and only one daughter. Because of this vision that God gave us to homeschool and disciple our family these boys spend lots of time together. Three of them share a bedroom and MUST learn to be patient with each other as the "teens" still have 5 year old boy toys and books to share space with their knife and sword collections and with their ever growing stacks of books as their personal libraries grow. It's a challenge, but I think as adults they will benefit from learning patience in their early years.

With the exception of the "least 'un" (yes, Sherry, we have the Christy videos, too) their Dad gets them out to work together as well. Cutting trees, tearing down decks, spreading slag for our driveway, digging a garden or painting fences are all jobs that Jeff gives them to do...not only because the work is necessary, but because real work gives these young men some purpose and a sense of accomplishment when a job is completed and completed well.

One of the sweetest blessings I am seeing lately, though, is the times that the older ones spend in playing with the younger two. Times I catch them on the couch snuggled up in a pack of three or four reading a classic children's picture book out loud and all actually seeming to enjoy the reading to times of building with giant Duplos, Tinkertoys or Magnetix. The 17 year old has even taught the 5 year old how to play chess and he loves to "play" Stratego with the big boys as well.

Lord, I thank you for the privilege of being at home with my children. The privilege of homeschooling them and of watching them grow. Thank you, too, that they are best friends and best brothers, living, playing and working together as they learn and grow daily under the influence of their godly father.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I don't know when I will be able to sit down and make a real post.  Busy as usual this week.  Jordan will be traveling to Dallas later this week (gone for four days) to film Sally Clarkson's Wholehearted seminar.  The Homeschool Channel has decided for the film crew to go a little more dressy and ordered dress shirts for the crew for these types of events.  I suppose they'll wear the polos at conferences, but Jordan had to have black dress pants, black shoes and a black belt to coordinate with the new shirts.  I also had some grocery shopping to do and as Jackson has outgrown all of his Sunday pants (we discovered this as we were getting ready for church yesterday) I needed to go shopping in the attic for the three other boys and make my list for what they might need for the summer.   Thankfully there was a good selection up there!  I think we are set except for one or two little items for Jackson and Aaron.  I knew Aaron needed jeans, as he just ripped one pair clear through the knee last week.  We found two or three pair in good condition along with two pair of church pants.   I bought Caedmon three new outfits for this summer today, but one was free with my Kohl's Kash.  So he got three brand new outfits for less than 12 dollars.   Now I just need to find him some new Robeez shoes at a price that I can afford on ebay!  Devin also has three trips to Memphis this week on top of teaching all day on Friday!

Because of so many things going on I decided to call a teacher/student work week for the week.  I don't know how we manage to be so messy, but this house is begging for a good old-fashioned cleaning and purging session.  I think the clutter is getting to everyone!!  So we have a list made of daily cleaning sessions along with some fun times of playing games that we never make time to do.   I will be going over all their individual school work with them from last week and making out new assignment sheets for next week with a pep talk about our study and homekeeping habits.  We have got to get back to some type of routine that helps us stay organized

The troops have seem to come to a halt and it is not break time for them yet!  Training in diligence is in order for the whole crew!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Interesting Article

Check out what this New York Times article has to say about how elementary classrooms should be run.  Sounds awfully familiar!!  Some of us have been doing this for years.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wanted: A Girl

We have started back with some tried and true writing methods this semester by using copywork, narration and dictation on a daily basis. It is working well for us and I am thrilled with two small books by Sandi Queen ( that I purchased specifically for this purpose:Copywork for Girls and Copywork for Boys.

Kaelan, age 10, is trying to put into practice this sweet little poem for girls written by A.L. Byers. She has copied it several times and made it the cover for her assignment notebook. She wants to share it with the girls who will be attending our support group's annual father-daughter banquet. I am thrilled that we can use such uplifting works to encourage our children to be Godly men and women. Maybe you have a daughter or other young woman in your life with whom you could share this poem.

Wanted: A Girl

The Girls that are wanted are good girls-
Girls that are mother's right hand,
That fathers and brothers can trust in,
And the little ones can understand.

Girls that are fair on the hearthstone,
And pleasant when nobody sees;
Kind and sweet to their own folk,
Ready and anxious to please.

Girls that are wanted are wise girls,
That know what to do and to say;
That drive with a smile or a soft word
The wrath of the household away.

The girls that are wanted are good girls-
Good from the heart to the lips;
Pure as the lily is white and pure
From its heart to its sweet leaf-tips.

From Moral Lessons of Yesteryear, by A.L. Byers

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Costumes Giveaway Winner

And the winner is.......

My "in real life" friend, Stacy!!!  Although she has moved MANY miles away, she can still bring a smile to my face with a simple "HA"!

Hope you all enjoy making costumes with your children and letting their imaginations soar.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Up and Running

It's been a crazy year for our family!  Last April, Jeff was asked to leave the radio side of American Family Association and start a new ministry for them specifically designed for homeschoolers.  For years, if anyone called AFA to ask about homeschooling the receptionist would direct their call to Jeff.  I suppose it was only natural that they ask him to head up The Homeschool Channel.  It has been a time of learning many new skills (for him), traveling, meeting many homeschool "celebrities" who have blessed us in the past with their vision for the family, with curriculum and wisdom.  We have been blessed in many ways already through this time of starting a new ministry for the homeschool community.

If you haven't heard about The Homeschool Channel yet, please take some time to join up and see what's going on and what will be coming in the days and months ahead.  The Homeschool Channel has programming for your enjoyment focused on family discipleship and homeschooling.  There are also small groups for each state, blogs, and a place for discussions. It's been fun seeing people from all over the world join the family at The Homeschool Channel.

Visit The Homeschool Channel

Monday, February 8, 2010

Supper Menu and a Recipe

I live in the South and have all my life.  I can call it supper!!

Monday-bbq sandwiches (it's in the freezer!) , baked beans, salad

Tuesday-field peas, stewed potatoes, squash, okra and cornbread

Wednesday-spaghetti (sauce in the freezer), salad, homemade garlic bread

Thursday-broiled pork chops, green beans, baked potatoes

Friday-chicken chimichangas (in the freezer), rice, beans, chips, salsa

Saturday-little cheesy meat loaves (in the freezer), butter beans, corn

Sunday-lasagna (in the freezer), salad, homemade garlic bread

And THIS BOY is loving his mama's homemade granola these days.  Well, really he loves his mama more and tells me so several times a day with lots of hugs and kisses.  However, he does like this granola and generally has at least one bowl daily.  It's easy to make and good for you as well.  Like most of my recipes, I double this.  Actually, I make two different kinds so I make four batches at a time.  It's that good!!

Anita's Granola

Each recipe makes 8 cups.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Blend together in a large measuring cup:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
2 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, mix:
 8 cups of regular oats
 1/4 cup of protein powder (I use rice protein powder from the health food store)
1 cup chopped raw walnuts

Pour honey-oil mixture over oat mixture until coated thoroughly.

Spread evenly in two 9 x 12 baking pans or rimmed cookie sheets.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Let cool and store in a tightly closed container in refrigerator or freezer.  I add dried blueberries to the cooled mixture.  This granola is great  cold and served with milk or heated in the microwave with milk. Some of my kids eat it dry.  I have used maple syrup instead of honey and I may substitute molasses for half the honey in my next batch.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Learning with Costumes and a Give-Away

From the time my oldest daughter received her first tutu, my children have loved to play dress-up.   There is no end to the play as they dress up like knights, princesses, firemen and cowboys.  However, my children have also dressed up as frontier men and women, presidents, Pilgrims, Indians, Africans and more.  Making costumes can be fairly easy, especially if you let the children do most of the work.  Here are a few of our costumes from years past with a little explanation.  Of course, checking Walmart out the week after H-----ween can result in a good stash of costumes as well.  We have found princess costumes, firemen, knights, penguins and horse costumes.  We have also found versatile capes to use for many different looks.

These African costumes were made with fabric purchased from the clearance table at Walmart for one dollar per yard.   Kaelan's was simply made into a wrap around skirt with a shoulder wrap.  The other children had simple tunics.   Jordan's costume (the taller one in the back) was a shirt dress in stripes purchased from the Salvation Army.  It has served many purposes.  

Kaelan is wearing black hand-me-down cowboy boots, jeans, Texas tee shirt and a Walmart cowboy hat.  She is sporting a cap gun as well.  Jordan's confederate hat was purchased from a battleground park.  He is wearing a simple gray shirt and jeans with a munitions belt to complete the look.  Aaron has a Walmart soldiers helmet, green jeans and his dad's old army shirt.  The boots were on clearance from 
Vision Forum years ago. The munitions belt and canteen were Walmart finds.  The rifle from a re-enactment store, however,  Jackson received a new one this Christmas from Vision Forum.

This was a cool day, so Kaelan is wearing clothes underneath what could be either an Indian dress or a mountain man's shirt.  I bought several ladies olive green t-shirts on clearance.  We fringed the bottom and the sleeves and poked holes in the v-neck line to string with rawhide boots laces.  The boys later cut them up the middle so they could belt them.  These shirts have probably been the most used of our costume stash.

Here Jordan is dressed as George Washington.  His tri-cornered hat was purchased at colonial Williamsburg.  His wig is cotton batting.  He is wearing my trouser socks and baseball pants.  The coat was a cast-off from dad's closet that we embellished with lace trim around the sleeves and piping around the pockets and collar.

This is a younger Washington.  He has on the same bottoms, but left the coat off and added a tapestry vest found at a thrift store for 50 cents. 


Here are the same shirts from earlier only cut up the middle and belted.  Jordan, our Pilgrim, has shaped the three-cornered hat to be more Pilgim-y and is wearing sweat pants pushed up under his knees.  He is wearing some suede ankle boots, a ladies thrift store dress shirt with a cape.  

For a fun tea party, the girls dress in Sunday clothes and add lacey shawls found at the thrift store or grandma's closet.  The hat I found on clearance at a dollar store.  I purchased several of them and they lasted for years of dress-up play.

It really is simple to create costumes for your children's studies and play.  Just keeping your eyes open for clearance tables and sales will bring lots of great additions to your costume closet.  To encourage you to add costumes to your home school fun, I am giving away a KONOS video by Jessica Hulcy.  Costumes-Creating a Memory will encourage you to learn with your children and to have fun creating costumes as you learn about God's world.  I don't know if the videos are still available or if they have been transfered to a DVD format.  This video is left over from my KONOS representative days.  If you would like the VIDEO, please leave a comment with your email address.

And yes, this is me with KONOS author Jessica Hulcy six years ago this month.  We were having high tea at a ritzy hotel in Dallas and I was deathly ill with all day morning sickness.  I look somewhat nauseous and green in this photo.   Continue to pray for Jessica as she recovers from her car accident last May.  She still has lots of pain in her left arm and leg, but is also still coping with recovery from the brain injury.  She has come a long way and we rejoice in that!  Continue to pray for a full recovery, though!  She has so much wisdom to share with the homeschool community.   

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Look Back in Time

I recently spent some time looking back at some pictures from when the middle children were younger.  We have had some fun times.  I will post more about making costumes and have a give-away tomorrow. Some of you will remember these times and places!   Enjoy your children today!  They grow up very quickly!

Jordan, Aaron and Kaelan on the Wilderness Road at the Cumberland Gap in Tennessee 2004


Kaelan and Aaron on a Sunday morning before church.

Confederate Jordan, Army Aaron and Cowgirl Kaelan

Jordan fishing at the Blassingame's

Back when there were only five!

Jordan on board the Discovery at Jamestown--2002

Confederate Jordan with our cannon.

Studying Africa with the Killough family.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Would I Want to Know?

If I were just beginning the adventure of homeschooling I would want someone who had walked the path to tell me the truth and to tell me what was really important.  Being a homeschool mom is a tough job.  It's very tough!!  Not only do you have your household duties, but you have your children with you 24/7 (generally speaking).  If they are home with you there will be messes and lots of them.  You will never have a really quiet moment.  There is much activity---constantly.  There are incessant questions.  There are papers to proofread, books to read, laundry to fold, dishes to washes, food to cook, beds to make, math facts to drill, diapers to change, Bible verses to memorize..... and the list goes on!  And on!

There are also sweet moments of cuddles as you read with your little ones, deep discussions as you wash dishes with your older ones, fun times as you teach your middle ones to cook,  adventures to share as you study another time or place, the precious time of teaching your children to read and seeing that light switch on and always relationships to build and memories to treasure.

Last night I had an opportunity to share with some ladies who will begin the homeschooling journey with their families next year.  It's so easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed when we focus on the academics.  What math should you teach?  What should you use for grammar?  What about science, history and geography?  There are so very many methods and styles of homeschooling.  Unit study, classical, Charlotte Mason, textbooks, eclectic and unschooling.....which style do you choose?  So many decisions to make and really, each family must decide what fits them best.  What we have chosen for our family may not work in yours.  What we do this year may change in the next.  We are constantly evaluating our methods of homeschooling and the materials we use.

Parents must determine the course they will take for their family.   Parents must know why they choose to homeschool and what direction they wish to go.  They must have a vision and set goals for the family.  If you don't know where you are going or why, then what's the point?  I gave four goals to this small group of ladies last night.  I'm sure you could think of others, but I think these goals say it all and are in order of importance.  I fail to meet these goals in so many ways, but they do give me a direction to follow.

Goals for a Christian homeschooling family
1.  To be a family who loves the Lord.
2.  To be a family who loves each other.
3.  To be a family who loves to serve. (in the home, church, and community)
4.  To be a family who loves to learn.
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